Remember when I mentioned how eliminating dairy, from my diet, was hard, at first? Well it was. HOWEVER, that was before I realized how amazing cashews were and how versatile! I'll continue sharing fun ways to create deliciousness, from cashews, but today, I wanted to share one of the very best! I created these Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Bars for those times you're needing something fancy, fun and similar to those dairy-filled treats.
Super Bowl Sunday was last weekend, and every year, my boyfriend and friends get together to celebrate! Everyone brings a dish to share, and per usual, I bring my own food supply! LOL Some dishes are always easy: guacamole and chips, hummus and veggies, grass-fed beef weenies, my boyfriend's 'World-Famous Carnitas' (we'll see if he can share the recipe later)... And every year, I ALWAYS make sure to have a sweet-treat (my weakness)! I made a pan of these, the night before, when my dear friend, Carrie, and her husband Pat, came over for game night; and brought two to the superbowl party, the next night (one for me, and one to share)!
These bars were pretty easy to make, and almost resemble a Dairy-Queen ice cream cake, in consistency (YUM)! My favorite part?! The super-easy crust was made from local Minnesota, grain-free granola company, WholeMe.
**As a WholeMe Ambassador, it's my job to spread the love about these paleo, grain-free clusters, BECAUSE THEY'RE DELICIOUS! Want to give them a try?! Head on over to their website, and type in "KATE20" for 20% off your order!
Anyway, back to these VEGAN CHEESECAKE BARS! I really enjoy creating desserts that are filled with wholesome ingredients - not a bunch of crap! That way, even though you're indulging, it feels a bit better on your conscience. Vegan cheesecake recipes always call to keep the finished product in the freezer, taking out about 30-45 minutes before wanting to serve. This is handy because it also prevents you from eating the entire plate (is anyone else like me on this?!)!
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, this pink-colored dessert is the perfect way to impress your sweetie (especially if they're dairy-free)!
- 1 full bag of WholeMe clusters (or if you're like me, two, half-full bags -- Almond Coconut & Lemon Berry Chia) *Since this recipe was for STRAWBERRY cheesecake, I decided on a fruity WholeMe flavor; next time, when I'm wanting chocolate, I'm going to try my all time fave Salted Peanut Chocolate!
- 3/4 cup prunes *I know, I know... prunes make you think of your grandma, who took them whenever she was constipated. I much prefer prunes to dates, because they contain less sugar, and yes, do, in fact, help you in the bathroom department!
- 1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked overnight, and drained
- 1 can full-fat coconut cream (this is the just the cream at the top of the can of coconut milk... not the other liquid under it). *ALWAYS go for full-fat!
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (the REAL STUFF... get local if you can. I used Skinny Sticks, made in Wisconsin)! *Mick Foley, "The Hardcore Legend" loves real maple syrup!
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
- juice of 1 lemon
- lemon zest (as much as you can get... I suck at zesting)!
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- In a high-powered food processor, blend WholeMe and prunes *blend a little at a time, since the prunes are sticky!
- Press the dough down into your pan, until it covers the entire bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer while preparing the filling and topping.
- Place cashews in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Place your coconut cream in the food processor, and blend until it forms a fluffy whip cream texture. *This requires a lower setting than the cashews and crust did. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice & lemon zest and vanilla, and continue to blend until incorporated.
- Pour your blended cashews into the whipped mixture, and gently blend together.
- Pour the mixture into your pan, on top of the crust.
- Place your strawberries and maple syrup in the food processor and blend. Add mixture on top of the filling, in the pan, and make swirls, to give it a swirly-look.
- Place back in freezer, for at least an hour, to harden.